The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a statement on 26 June 2017 alleging that Indian border troops crossed the boundary line in the Sikkim sector of the China-India boundary and entered Chinese territory. This has been reiterated since then in other Chinese official briefings.
The following is the statement issued by India’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
1. The facts of the matter are as follows:
i. On June 16, a PLA construction party entered the Doklam area and attempted to construct a road. It is our understanding that a Royal Bhutan Army patrol attempted to dissuade them from this unilateral activity. The Ambassador of the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGOB) has publicly stated that it lodged a protest with the Chinese Government through their Embassy in New Delhi on June 20.
ii. Yesterday, the Foreign Ministry of Bhutan has also issued a statement underlining that the construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory is a direct violation of the 1988 and 1998 agreements between Bhutan and China and affects the process of demarcating the boundary between these two countries. They have urged a return to the status quo as before June 16, 2017.
iii. In keeping with their tradition of maintaining close consultation on matters of mutual interest, RGOB and the Government of India have been in continuous contact through the unfolding of these developments.
iv. In coordination with the RGOB, Indian personnel, who were present at general area Doka La, approached the Chinese construction party and urged them to desist from changing the status quo. These efforts continue.
v. The matter has been under discussion between India and China at the diplomatic level in the foreign ministries since then, both in New Delhi and Beijing. It was also the subject of a Border Personnel Meeting at Nathu La on June 20.
2. India is deeply concerned at the recent Chinese actions and has conveyed to the Chinese Government that such construction would represent a significant change of status quo with serious security implications for India.
3. In this context, the Indian side has underlined that the two Governments had in 2012 reached agreement that the tri-junction boundary points between India, China and third countries will be finalized in consultation with the concerned countries. Any attempt, therefore, to unilaterally determine tri-junction points is in violation of this understanding.
4. Where the boundary in the Sikkim sector is concerned, India and China had reached an understanding also in 2012 reconfirming their mutual agreement on the “basis of the alignment”. Further discussions regarding finalization of the boundary have been taking place under the Special Representatives framework.
5. It is essential that all parties concerned display utmost restraint and abide by their respective bilateral understandings not to change the status quo unilaterally. It is also important that the consensus reached between India and China through the Special Representatives process is scrupulously respected by both sides.
6. India has consistently taken a positive approach to the settlement of its own boundary with China, along with the associated issue of the tri-junctions.
7. India cherishes peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas. It has not come easily. Both sides have worked hard to establish institutional framework to discuss all issues to ensure peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas. India is committed to working with China to find peaceful resolution of all issues in the border areas through dialogue.
Bhutan’s official statement
This is official statement from the Royal Government of Bhutan:
In view of the many queries raised recently in the media regarding the Bhutan – China boundary in the Doklam area the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to convey the following:
On June 16, 2017, the Chinese Army started constructing a motorable road from Dokola in the Doklam area towards the Bhutan Army camp at Zompelri. Boundary talks are ongoing between Bhutan and China and we have written agreements of 1988 and 1998 stating that the two sides agree to maintain peace and tranquility in their border areas pending a final settlement on the boundary question, and to maintain status quo on the boundary as before March 1959. The agreements also state that the two sides will refrain from taking unilateral action, or use of force, to change the status quo of the boundary.
Bhutan has conveyed to the Chinese side, both on the ground and through the diplomatic channel, that the construction of the road inside Bhutanese territory is a direct violation of the agreements and affects the process of demarcating the boundary between our two countries. Bhutan hopes that the status quo in the Doklam area will be maintained as before June 16, 2017.
— India Legal Bureau